When I’m naked, I can see the signs of my cooking progress. I’m not talking about a little extra spare in the ol’ tire due to an overactive sweet tooth (though true, I will not obsess here). I mean marks, scars, bruises and weirdly colored pieces of skin that are the results of hot oil splatters and malfunctioning oven mitts that happened in unfortunate conjunction with poor outfit choices.
That faint pink mark on my left arm in the shape of a cat’s eye—baked chicken. The way the nail on my left index finger grows diagonally—overzealous cilantro chopping. A white spot on my cleavage, which I try to pass off as an albino freckle—a result of splattered butter while sautéing in my skivvies. (If you must know, I was late to a party and I hadn’t eaten all day; so I was whipping up a grilled cheese while trying to decide what to wear, okay?)
I’m not so much a “bad” cook as I am an uninformed, underdeveloped one. Or, I should say, was. These scars are my growing pains. Cooking, you see, always seemed like an oppressive chore—and so it was something I never bothered to learn properly. (If you don’t know how to do it, no one—which is to say no man—can expect you to, right?) It’s only been a year or so since I’ve known how to put ingredients together to form a meal. Prior to this life transformation, “ingredients” meant salad bags and string cheese. And “meal” meant takeout.
As a young girl, I resisted my mother’s coaching to help me become “good in the kitchen.” I didn’t want to be a good cook. I wanted to be the best student, get into the best college, and get the best job, which would allow me to hire the best personal chef. Career women of the new millennium don’t cook!